In the Monitorul Oficial, Part I no. 21 from 7 of January 2022, the Order no. 370 from 21 of December 2021 was published. The purpose of this Order is to establish prevention and control measures regarding money laundering and terrorist funding through activities deployed by gambling service providers. The Order was issued in regards to the application of art. 59 para.1 of the Law no. 129/2019 on preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as amending and supplementing certain acts, as amended and supplemented.
The order’s application extends to three types of gambling service providers:
- Romanian legal persons, for the activity of gambling services carried out on the territory of Romania on the basis of an organization license issued by the National Gambling Office;
- branches in Romania of foreign legal persons, for the activity of gambling services carried out on the territory of Romania on the basis of an organization license issued by the National Gambling Office;
- foreign legal persons, for the activity of gambling services carried out on the territory of Romania on the basis of an organization license issued by the National Gambling Office.
As far as the content of the order is concerned, the measures are divided into four chapters specifying the obligations of gambling service providers, requirements for know-your-client measures (KYC), the supervision and control activity of the National Gambling Office and general measures to counteract and mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorist funding.
The obligations of gambling service providers are to identify, assess and manage the risk of money laundering and terrorist funding, in accordance with established internal policies and rules, in terms of clientele, type of gambling activities, channels through which they are offered, types of transactions (including purchase/exchange of tokens) and connections with geographical areas.
The internal policies and rules are established taking into consideration a series of risk factors specific to each individual gambling activity or to a category of similar gambling activities. For instance, for the category “casinos, poker clubs, poker festival”, the risks factors may be:
- cash transactions;
- crediting players;
- deployment of loan-sharking activities on the premises of gambling establishments;
- occasional gamblers/customers.
Moreover, in defining the internal policies and rules, gambling service providers should consider including certain measures such as:
- measures applicable in terms of KYC;
- risk-based evaluation mechanisms in connection with customers and their activities;
- reporting procedures and prompt provision of data at the request of the competent authorities in the format and methodology established by such authorities;
- hiring standards and related verifications, as well as training programmes for staff assigned with anti-money laundering and combating the terrorist funding attributions followed by periodic evaluation and training.
Regarding the clientele, the order imposes requirements on gambling service providers concerning know-your-customer measures. Therefore, prior to entering into a business relationship, gambling service providers must apply standard know-your-customer measures, ensuring the collection of minimum customer information, such as:
– first name, surname and nickname, if applicable;
– date and place of birth;
– personal identification number or, where applicable, other similar unique identifier.
Gambling service providers must check documents and information, as well as conduct a regular review of the customer profile.
In the process of preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing in the field of gambling, a very important role is played by the National Gambling Office, which carries out supervision and control activities.
The ONJN carries out periodic control activities, at national level, with prior notification of the gambling service provider, or unannounced control, without prior notification of the provider. These control activities are carried out on an operational basis, by the staff of the General Directorate of Supervision and Control of the ONJN, at the headquarters of the gambling service provider, at the ONJN’s headquarters or at a location chosen by mutual agreement between the staff of the institution and the representatives of the controlled provider.
Finally, depending on the specifics of the gambling activity, gambling service providers are required to comply with general measures to counteract and mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing, such as:
– verification of assets, if known, suspected of originating from the commission of crime or are related to terrorist financing;
– enhanced application of standard KYC measures;
– compilation of appropriate documents regarding the achieved results of the business relationship, if necessary;
– regular verification of the details of the real beneficial owner, in particular his identity, and in case of legal persons, the form of ownership and their status.